December 06, 2022

Staff Spotlight: Jodi Harper

Associate Director of Southern NH Area Health Education Center (SNH AHEC)

Pronouns: she/her/hers

LHC: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? How did you get here?

Jodi: I grew up in a small town in Michigan, on a 160 acre farm.  We used to raise sheep, cows, and chickens and were active in 4-H and FFA.  Family means everything to me, and I still go back to unplug (literally, there’s not cell reception unless I go into town) and visit my parents on the farm several times a year.  I came to New Hampshire in 2007 to work with an AmeriCorps program called City Year New Hampshire where I got connected with a program in Manchester called BRING IT! (Bringing Refugees, Immigrants, and Neighbors Gently Into Tomorrow) where I worked until I came to AHEC/Lamprey in 2017.

LHC: What do you like most about working at Lamprey Health Care?

Jodi: When I first started to work here I noticed quickly that I get to laugh and I get to learn something new every day.  5 years later I still feel the same way.  What’s not to love about that sort of work environment?  I have had the pleasure of working on some incredible teams that included all levels of the organization.  AHEC/Lamprey is the sort of place where you get to work with folks who see and value you as a person, and not just a cog in the machine which makes the work really enjoyable.  The people I have the privilege to work alongside make it easy to want to come in and work hard every day. 

LHC: Did you always want to work in healthcare? What would you do if you weren't doing this?

Growing up I always wanted to go to Michigan State and be a music teacher.  Then I went to Ferris State and thought I might want to get into pharmacy, but little did I know the intense math & science skills that pharmacy school requires.  I ultimately landed in the Elementary Education program, thinking I would want to be a Kindergarten teacher in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula… so becoming a social worker in New Hampshire totally makes sense as a logical next step.  If I wasn’t on team AHEC, I would probably be a therapist somewhere as I work towards obtaining my LICSW.  But in another life, I dream of being a sheep farmer with a yarn store where I sell the yarn and other fiber related products I make from the sheep that I raise.  I suppose that once a 4-H loving farm girl, always a 4-H loving farm girl. 

LHC: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

Jodi: I have recently gotten into baking sourdough bread, which is really fun.  For me it’s a great practice in patience, and just so cool that a really tasty loaf of bread requires only salt, flour, water, and time.  With my family living nearly 1,000 miles away, I cherish my friends in New England who have become family and try to spend quality time with them often.  When I’m not working, you can often find me knitting/sewing/cross-stitching, sharing a meal with friends, reading a good book, working on a jigsaw puzzle, going for a walk, and sometimes even swinging a kettle bell around in my Body Positive Fitness classes which have become a bit of an obsession for me since COVID took this incredible gym from Canada and brought it right on into my living room.

LHC: What advice would you give to others to be healthy?

Jodi: Read the book ‘The Body is Not an Apology’ by Sonya Renee Taylor, and find joyful movement that works for you.  A pair of exercise pants I bought recently came with a sticker that has become my mantra, “I work out because I love my body [and am grateful for what it allows me to do], not because I hate it [and feel like it needs to be changed].“

LHC: Bonus Question: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Jodi: Be sure to visit and sign up for our monthly Blitzmail to be in the know on all of the trainings, workshops, and continuing education opportunities we offer!  A lot of people don’t realize Lamprey Health Care is more than just a primary care provider; at the Area Health Education Center we house the Center for Cultural Effectiveness and offer world-class professional development, education, and leadership programs.